On Apr. 17, in a game against the Ottawa Senators, P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens scored with a slap shot clocked at 140 km/h. That is fast. VERY fast.What type of training does P.K. do off the ice to achieve this kind of shooting power?

Let’s begin with some things he does NOT do. He does no weighted shooting drills of any kind. Ever. He does no “wood chops” or rotational exercises or “core” exercises of any kind using a cable machine. Ever. He does no exercises of ANY kind in the gym to try to specifically replicate what he does on the ice. Ever. And, of course, he NEVER does ANY KIND of “stability” training or unstable surface training. EVER!

So how does P.K. train in order to maximize his shooting power, along with his skating power and hitting power? During the off-season, P.K.‘s strength training program includes:

– Squats 2x per week
– Front Squats 2x per week
– Olympic Weightlifting variations 4x per week
– Pull-ups or chin-ups 2x per week
– Jumps and throws 2-4x per week

The ONLY rotational training P.K. does is rotational medicine ball tosses (either to a partner or against a wall). These are certainly a useful exercise, but there is no attempt to replicate the specific technique of the slap shot (or golf swing or tennis stroke).

Furthermore, without the basic strength and overall power provided by the rest of the program, these will not have a dramatic effect. The exercises complement and build upon one another, and heavy squats form the foundation. It is impossible to have great power without respectable levels of strength.

I remember Charles Poliquin telling me about a German research paper that stated most rotational work has ZERO TRANSFER to rotational power and speed. I have adapted that concept and been successful. I dare you to find a top discus thrower or shot putter who does cable wood chops or whatever these functional and sport-specific gurus come up with next.

To further my point, it has been proven that weighted slap shots, baseball swings or golf swings WILL disrupt the specific coordination and timing patterns in these movements. To put it in layman’s terms, such exercises are very likely to mess up your swing or shot.

Do you want a harder slap shot? Do you want a longer drive in golf? Do you want to hit the baseball farther? Do you want a harder tennis serve? In each case, in addition to mastering the technique involved, the answer is the same: squat “heavy”, do whatever form of dynamic pulling you are able to perform safely and correctly, and some form of jumping or throwing!

Squats build the necessary foundation of strength, while the dynamic pulls, short sprints, jumps, and throws fine tune one’s system for maximum speed and explosiveness. For maximum performance on the ice, field, or court, follow my advice and leave the cable-based “core” work to the rehab specialists.